First Commercial Skydiving Center in the United States
Published: February 2, 2018
Picking up your very first set of sport skydiving gear feels like Christmas morning! You'll be going from well-loved rentals to your very own skydiving equipment. You'll lovingly choose a skydiving container (of course fitted with an Automatic Activation Device, or "AAD"), main parachute, reserve parachute, altimeter and helmet. You might still use Jumptown's rental jumpsuits for a while until you decide on a skydiving discipline in which to place your focus...but the safety equipment for skydiving will be yours and yours alone.
As you may already suspect, however, the gear you need to simply survive your jumps only covers the bare-bones basics. The equipment needed for skydiving is just a small part of the equipment you'll eventually want to make sure is in your gear bag. A great day on the dropzone at Jumptown requires much more--so we're here with a reasonably comprehensive skydiving equipment list. Let's go to the mall!
If you want to skydive at any dropzone in the world, you'll need to flash your papers. Here's what to keep with your skydiving kit.
Your Parachute Association license (Example: USPA, if you're American. Forget this and you're grounded if the dropzone can't reach the issuing authority.)
Your logbook. As you advance in the sport, you'll almost certainly go digital--but until you get into your advanced licenses, you'll need to show your paper signoffs. Keep this in a gallon ziploc bag to protect it from leaky water bottles and spilled green-light beer.
Your reserve repack card. Copies don't work--this has to be original.
An AAD air travel card (Print this one if you have a Cypres, or this one if you have a Vigil). When you travel with your skydiving gear, you may be called upon to explain the metal stuff in your container. Otherwise, they may just, y'know, yank your reserve handle and force you to control your righteous anger lest you go to jail.
You love your new (or new-to-you) rig, right? Show it you care.
A drag mat. Packing mats are dirty. Put something under your rig so it doesn't pick up a matching stain as you're busy compressing your nylon.
A towel. If you need to leave your rig out in the sun...don't. Put a towel over it. Every time.
A stiff-bristled brush. (This is the way you'll scrub your crappy-landing marks from your leg straps.)
Skydiving isn't just a sport--it's an ever-evolving craft project.
A multitool. Repurpose your trusty old Leatherman or Swiss Army knife for your gear bag. Even if you just open beer and wine bottles with it, you'll definitely use it more than you do in whatever junk drawer it currently lives.
Rubber bands. You can't always count on rubber bands being free (or present) on all the packing mats of the world.
Note-taking materials. Keep a fresh ballpoint, pencil and sharpie in your kit. It also pays to have a little notebook, too--for snagging other jumpers' contact information and/or leaving flirtatious notes on boogie windshields.
Labels and stickers. You can expect much everybody on any given DZ to have exactly the same stuff that you do. If unlabeled items go missing from your kit, it's likely not an issue of dishonesty--just mistaken identity. Labeling often solves the problem before it arises. Covering your stuff with ridiculous stickers will often serve the same purpose (and allow you to leave your mark on other jumpers' gear, as well. Example: If you see a tiny panda sticker somewhere, it likely came from yours truly.)
A long day on the dropzone at Jumptown requires much the same prep as a 10k, lest you collapse in a hypoglycemic ball of sweaty grump.
Snacks. Make these non-perishable, easy to eat with your hands and relatively healthy. Avoid insulin-spiking sugar and heavy junk food that'll drag down your energy.
A water bottle (or rollable Platypus bottle). You can refill it from the water fountains or taps at the DZ. It's a nice idea to bring along flavor packets or tea bags to make hydration more palatable, because you really need to hydrate.
UV-protective sunglasses and sport sunscreen, even if you don't often use it. The sun is stronger up there.
Knee Pads. Cheap foam ones are fine. Sure laugh: You'll soon discover that they really help when you're packing.
A clean sweat rag, you dirty thang. Buffs work great.
Still have questions about what equipment is needed for skydiving? Give us a call! Or better yet, come chat us up at Jumptown. We're happy to share tips we've learned from years in the sport.